Chapter

Politics as Dialogue

David Miller

in Market, State, and Community

Published in print December 1990 | ISBN: 9780198278641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599903 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198278640.003.0011

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Politics as Dialogue

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If politics is a process whereby collective decisions are reached from an initial position of disagreement, there are two conceptions of how this should happen. Politics as interest‐aggregation looks for a procedure whereby pre‐existing preferences can be fairly aggregated (e.g. majority voting). In contrast, politics as dialogue emphasizes the giving of reasons by participants, which allows even those who disagree with the final outcome to regard it as legitimate. Arendt and Habermas present sharply opposed, but unacceptable, versions of the latter view. A more realistic alternative would involve narrowing the scope of political debate, and focusing on the conditions under which citizens are willing to set aside their personal interests in order to represent the public as a whole.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; citizenship; dialogue; Jürgen Habermas; Friedrich Hayek; interests; politics; Jean‐Jacques Rousseau

Chapter.  9812 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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